Drobo: Migrating from Windows to Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by TexasPancake, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. TexasPancake macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2008
    Just recently made the decision to make the switch from Windows to Mac and am very excited!

    Have a Drobo FW800 coming in and I'd like to use it as my main storage for files. As I move my files off of XP-driven harddrives and onto the Drobo, what steps do I need to take to make sure OSX can see and access everything?

    Thanks :)
  2. merl1n macrumors 65816


    Mar 30, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    What you may want to do prior to migrating files, is to connect the drive to the Mac, launch Disk Utility and reformat the drive changing the Partition Mapping to GUID and the Partition for the drive to FAT32.

    Macs can read/write FAT32 (up to 4GB transfers each time) and can only read NTFS.

    Another alternative is again using Disk Utility and set the Partition to Apple (extended journaling) and Partition Map to GUID, and transfer your files from the PC over your network to the new drive.

    I'm not a PC switcher, so if I'm wrong on any of this, someone else please chime in.
  3. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Just to clarify, while Macs natively cannot write to NTFS, installing the free open source MacFUSE and NTFS-3G adds that capability to OSX transparently.

    Works like a charm for me (and a lot of others! :) ). You can check it out at:


    Also, I don't believe the PC will be able to transfer files to a GUID partitioned disk- but it would be easy to test that when the Drobo has nothing on it as it could be first fomatted as GUID and tried-- and if it does not work, going back into Disk Utility and formatting again using Master Boot Record as the partition type which is the default PC type.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    No don't do that. You do NOT want to use FAT32 files to store all of your data. Whatever you do make sure you end up with the Drobo being formatted as HFS+ Even Microsoft has moved away from FAT32. I could write pages abut why FAT32 is not suitable for primary storage... It has not concept of ownership. fat32 file can't have owners. the file system is easly corrupted and suseptable to framentation. read/write performance is very poor and so on and so on.

    The network idea was good. Simply connect the two computers to the same network, "share" the files from the PC and drag and drop them onto the Mac's disk.

    There is a good third option: Buy an empty external drive enclosure. Remove the hard drive from the PC and put it inside the enclosure. Then plug the enclosure into the Mac. Next drage the files to the Drobo. Un-plug the external drive and store it away some place. It will serve as a backup.

    You will need to figure out some way to backup the Drobo. Exactly how does not matter but you need at least three copies of your data on three different devices and at two geographic locations.
  5. TexasPancake thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2008
    Does using macfuse and ntfs-3g.org result in any read/write bottlenecks? I'd like to use the Drobo as my main drive for mp3s, pics, and video...


  6. tloverro macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2008
    Options for moving the data

    This is Tom from Data Robotics...

    Great question! One option would be to buy a DroboShare and then format your Drobo HFS+ and hook it up over the network via the DroboShare. Once on the network your WinXP PC machine will be able to access it even though its HFS+ because DroboShare operates on the SMB protocol which is cross-platform. That is how I personally handled the dilemma--it costs $199 but the good news is that you then have the DroboShare which gives you the option of making your Drobo a NAS at any time and it is quite simple.

    Another cheaper option would be to hook the Drobo up to the Mac and format it HFS+. Then in OS X Control Panel turn on File Sharing utilizing SMB as the protocol. As long as the Mac is hooked up to the same network as the PC you should be able to mount the drive as an SMB volume share network drive (that may take a little work as Windows makes things hard). This should work logically, but I haven't tried it.

    An Airport Extreme or Time Capsule is another option. If you first format the Drobo HFS+ when direct-attached to your Mac and then USB the Drobo to either of these devices and connect to it via SMB this should work. I haven't tried this either, but to the extent you already own one of these devices it makes the process cheap and easy. You can Google around and see other folks who have done this with external drives. (Google something like "Airdisk Windows XP")

    A third option is making your PC read/write HFS+ or your Mac read/write NTFS per other users' suggestions. I have had mixed luck with these approaches but then again that was two years ago when the software was probably lest robust. You'll probably have to pay for that software though the standard $39-$99 depending on what you get.

    FAT32 is certainly another option but echoing the experiences of other posters, I would not recommend it as the long-term file system for your Drobo because it is so outdated at this point and has various limitations.

    I happened to be away on vacation today and am a bit tired so let me know if I missed anything or misspoke on any of these points--I am still a bit groggy from my redeye flight.

    Take care and I hope you enjoy your new Drobo!
  7. TexasPancake thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2008
    Fun update!

    Just ordered my iMac today -- 2.8Ghz 500gb, wireless k/m, and 24" of goodness. Very excited to make the move to Apple!!!

    That said, here's what I'm planning on doing, and would love some input from the pros. Pardon if this seems simple stupid, but I figure with Mac's sales going through the roof and Drobo's great product there may be others in the same boat as me so hopefully this thread can help others as well.

    1. Going to connect Drobo to XP and use dashboard to format the 3TB HDDs in HFS+
    2. Going to install MacDrive v7 on XP
    3. Move all of my docs/data from my XP machine to Drobo
    4. When complete, run NoClone to de-dupe pics/mp3s/backups of backups (trying to clean up my bad file-management past)
    5. When my data is clean (no duplicates) and organized, put Drobo on standby, powerdown, and plug it into my (new!) FW800 port
    6. I will likely keep most of the video that I work with on Drobo, and move my standard work folders to the iMac HDD
    7. Set-up Time Machine on Drobo
    8. Plunge into beautiful OSX
    9. Figure something out for offsite backup once I can tear myself away from working on my pics and videos free from system crashes...


    Recommendations/suggestions? I'm very worried I'm missing something (e.g., export photo tags from Photoshop Elements 5.0, export iTunes library to preserve playlists/ratings...) what do y'all think?

    Thanks sooo much for the great help. iMac should be here late next week -- perfect amount of time to spend the next couple of days on XP cleaning my data for the move!
  8. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    First off, congrats on the order! I'm sure you will enjoy it a LOT!

    On your plan, I do have one question of which I am far from sure (as I only deal with XP very lightly) so will ask-- on your question 1 you mention using XP to format the Drobo to HFS+...

    Since HFS+ is a Mac format, does the "dashboard" offer Macintosh formatting? I ask since that is the foundation of the rest of your steps.

    EDIT: So I just found out that the "dashboard" that you mentioned is from Drobo- so I guess my question would be better phrased as "Does the XP version of the Drobo Dashboard support Mac formatting?":confused:
  9. TexasPancake thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2008
    Thanks for the quick response Doc! Just the Aperture>Final Cut>Key Note integration alone makes me excited to see how much higher quality work I can output. Can't wait for it to get here!

    Great question -- I read the user manual (Drobo is arriving tomorrow but I downloaded from their site) and it looks like the set-up through XP will only prompt me to format to NTFS or FAT32. BUT -- I'll just head to a colleagues house (one of the devout Apple Fans that opened my eyes) and format Drobo via his MBP for HFS+.
  10. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    I think you've got it down perfect! Maybe start off formatting the Drobo on your iMac though having OS X do the HFS+, from there move everything over using MacDrive. Oh, last step, which is included in every step:

    *Lots of donuts and caffeine, moving 3TB's is gonna take awhile

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